Bell Atlantic Mobile Teams with Duquesne Light for Wireless Meter Readings

PITTSBURGH, PA — Commercial and industrial electric customers in western Pennsylvania now have a more efficient, timely system at work for them. Duquesne Light is using high speed wireless technology from Bell Atlantic Mobile to enhance efficiency for monitoring thousands of its commercial and industrial meters in western Pennsylvania. The new system improves efficiency of transmitting meter information to Duquesne Light's main computer where it is integrated into the company's customer service and billing systems.

An advanced meter system collects data from commercial users throughout the day, storing it until it is transmitted wirelessly to the main computer between midnight and 5 a.m. This enables Duquesne Light to take advantage of Bell Atlantic Mobile's lower rates during off-peak times while still continuously monitoring and recording customer use.

"Duquesne Light's application of this technology demonstrates how wireless data transmissions can help companies improve their operations," explained Roger Tang, regional vice president for Bell Atlantic Mobile in Pittsburgh.

Approximately 6,000 wireless phones with a data interface are in place at commercial and industrial sites for Duquesne Light customers throughout western Pennsylvania. In addition to the automated meter reading, these units are also equipped to provide timely notification of a power outage at any of these sites.

Duquesne Light says the major benefits of wireless transmission for meter reading include:• Cost savings in transmitting data during off-peak hours while maintaining timeliness of reading and storing the data throughout the day;

• Rapid notification of power outages;• Ease and flexibility of installation; a free-standing 18" cellular antenna can be placed in the basement or other convenient spot at a business; • No need to install a traditional phone line for these transmissions; • One communication box, using only one wireless data interface, can be set up for a cluster of meters, with the system differentiating each user (i.e., one box can be used for a shopping mall with multiple storefronts).

Bell Atlantic Mobile provides a wide range of wireless data services for business including automated meter readings, monitoring gas pipelines, fast and secure remote point of sale credit card verifications, and public safety applications for police in their squad cars such as virtually immediate license checks and access to local, state and national criminal data bases.

In the Pittsburgh market, Bell Atlantic Mobile was ranked the leader in overall customer satisfaction among wireless users, according to the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates 1998 U.S. Wireless Customer Satisfaction Studysm. Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless network in the East, covering 120,000 square miles, and the largest chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data and paging. The company's Pittsburgh Regional Headquarters, located in Thorn Hill Industrial Park in Marshall Township, includes a local Customer Service Department to provide personalized service to area residents and businesses.